Twiga Foods is changing the way markets work by formalising a market that has long been informal. Sourcing directly from farmers and delivering to vendors doorsteps, has enabled Twiga to provide farmers with a guaranteed market, while also selling produce to vendors at below market rate. Twiga has done so by eliminating brokers and reducing post-harvest losses to under 5%. Twiga accomplishes this by using a single platform where mobile technology, a network of food producers, pack houses and vehicles come together to supply and deliver a variety of products directly to informal vendors across the city.
The biggest problem farmers face is access to market, that is the reason brokers have flourished in agricultural areas. They buy produce from farmers at low prices because farmers have nowhere else to take their produce. “One of the biggest challenges we have as farmers is the market. Before Twiga, we had a lot of problems with brokers. Brokers from Mombasa and Nairobi were many, they took our bananas and paid whatever they wanted to pay us. But with Twiga, we get better prices for our bananas”, says Patrick Muthee, who has been a farmer for 15 years in Meru.
Providing farmers with a guaranteed market for their produce enables farmers to focus on increasing their yield and growing their business, “Twiga has helped me to grow my business. I have been able to lease more farms to grow bananas and this has increased my income”, says Judy Ruria, a Public Health Officer.
By empowering farmers to build their business, Twiga aims to guarantee a food secure Kenya in the near future. As such Twiga promptly pays for produce; are transparent about their pricing, provide receipts for better access to loans and offer agronomy support to farmers.
Partnerships to Further Benefit Farmers
Twiga also partners with agricultural and financial to provide farmers with value addition services, such as access to credit and agricultural inputs. This enables farmers to increase their yields hence increase their incomes and their standards of living.
During monthly Farmer Engagement Programmes (FEPs), held at the Collection Centres funded by USAID, Twiga invites its partners, such as SunCulture, Livelihoods, Sidai and Mavuno Fertilisers among others, to talk to farmers about the benefits of value addition services and offer them discounted rates on their products.
Samson Makau, a farmer for over 20 years in Taveta says, “Twiga has brought a new concept to us and we are happy. The partner [SunCulture] has taught us a new way of farming that we have not seen. They demonstrated how to use irrigation and now that I can get water on the whole farm, I will be able to grow more produce.” He also adds, “Since I am now working with Twiga, I plan to supply them with not less than Ksh 100,000 worth of produce a month”
The FEPs are an avenue for Twiga to update and educate farmers on issues affecting, them such as crop diseases that are currently affecting the area and also for farmers to give Twiga feedback on their services. This build trust and enhances the relationship between Twiga and farmers.